Ten years. That's how long I've been doing this annual survey thing. Ten f'ing years. I don't write much original content on this blog but if there's one blog post I can count on making each year, it's this one.
I am going do this annual blog post every year for the rest of my life.
I try really hard to give answers that'll still mean something over time. Maybe one day, a loved one or a child of mine will find a lot of value in all this, maybe even years after I've passed.
Or if nobody ever reads this, that'd be fine too. I've been keeping up with this tradition because I love taking the time to reflect on how I've grown.
In 2011, my life was in shambles. In 2012, my focus was getting my career back on track. In 2013, things finally started falling into place. It feels good.
Here's how my year 2013 went:
Compared to this time last year, are you: Happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter? Richer or poorer?
Happier. In my heart, it still feels like yesterday when I was dwelling on the past, depressed about the present, and anxious about the future. I can't quite say that I'm happy yet"¦but I've definitely taken big steps out of that dark place.
Thinner! Kinda surprised how quickly the My Fit Foods program is working out for me in just three weeks. People are noticing.
Richer. It feels SO DAMN GOOD to be getting paid my worth again. It took me a couple years to recover from committing career suicide but I think I'm a much wiser person because of it.
What other states/countries did you visit?
Nowhere this year. Well, technically I was in Arizona for a few minutes while visiting Hoover Dam, lol.
What was your favorite film of this year?
Gravity — This movie had my heart racing and me sitting on the edge of my seat.
Before Midnight — My favorite scene was when they were sitting at the lunch table trying to define "love".
Honorable Mention: Man of Steel
What was your favorite TV program?
Modern Family — THIS is the kind of humor that I love. Thanks to Angel for getting me into this.
Vampire Diaries — They leave you with the BEST cliffhangers ever episode.
Breaking Bad — I don't think I've ever loved a villain like Mr. White before.
Suits — This movie totally inspires me to be a real man. Thanks to Kris for getting me into this.
Dog Whisperer — Ugh, I so badly want a dog.
Also: Falling Skies, Homeland, HIMYM, Louie, Agents of SHIELD, New Girl, Sleepy Hollow, The Originals, Under the Dome, Wilfred.
What was the best book you read?
Steve Jobs Biography — He was a perfectionist but he was definitely not perfect. Everything that made him one of the world's greatest visionaries came at the expense of his personal life and relationships. It's just amazing to hear all the stories behind a man that truly put a dent in the universe.
"Hatching Twitter" — For such a successful company, it's crazy to read how much backstabbing and betrayal went on behind the scenes.
What was your greatest musical discovery?
- The Cab — Their music popped up on AJ's Pandora station on the LunaCo retreat. I haven't really paid attention to their lyrics"¦I just really love how they sound, lol.
What song(s) will always remind you of 2013?
The Cab — Endlessly
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
It's funny. After graduation, I just found a style that is just comfortable for me. Next thing I know, it's 2013 and I'm basically wearing the exact same shit, lmao. After getting into the TV show, Suits, I realized I'm no longer a fresh-out-of-college kid anymore; I really need to start dressing my age.
Thankfully I'm no longer in that dead-end job. I worked my ass out of debt and I'm comfortably making enough to occasionally splurge on new clothes.
I'ma step up my game a lot next year.
What words/phrases/slang did you pick up on this year? Who do you blame?
I started using "lmao" for my first time! Two years ago, I was strictly using variating lengths of "hahah" to express laughter. Last year I started using "lol" and this year I added "lmao" to my dictionary. Like I said before, it's a big change, like switching from tighty whities to boxers to boxer briefs.
The first time I used it was with Hannah.
Did you keep your New Years Resolutions? Will you make more for next year?
Last year I wrote:
For next year, my focus will be getting health insurance and making enough money so I can work out at a gym. I'd love to get a rowing machine so I can work on conditioning and strengthening that'll improve my posture.
Waiting for my Obamacare to kick in next year.
Also, I got the rowing machine. I've used it less than five times, LOL smh.
I will also give up french fries, onion rings, potato chips, and any other similar fried appetizer (with just one cheat day per month). For most of this past year, I've been good about not ordering fries"¦but I would always get around it by mooching off other people's fries, lol. Maybe someday I'll be able to give up fried food in general?
I've been REALLY good about this, especially after my gall bladder removal. Perspective on food kinda changes when you realize that ruining your body means surgeons are gonna have to cut you open.
For 2014, my resolution is to stop using my phone while driving. I'm still pretty bad these days"¦frequently snapchatting, texting, or checking Twitter while driving on the freeway. I definitely need to quit that.
(Note: this resolution does not apply when traffic is at a complete stop or going less than 5 mph.)
I'm also going to commit myself to My Fit Foods. I might not stick to it for ALL meals but I think I can commit to it for at least 70% of my meals. Hey, it beats eating out for EVERY meal like I've done in the past.
Describe a typical day for you this year:
On days that I have to go to the office — Out the door by 8am. At the Bel-Air office by 9:30ish. Lunch in Westwood, 12-1pm. Commute home 4-5:30pm. Shoot some hoops. Dinner. Catch up on tech news, blogs, TV shows til 10ish. Do a couple hours of work til midnight.
On days I work from home — 9am Breakfast. Work hard for two hours, play for an hour, work for two hours, play for an hour"¦basically do that for the entire day, lmao.
What did you do on your birthday?
I just worked. Did nothing special to celebrate BUT that week I took up a job offer and have been waaaaay happier ever since.
Honestly, I don't care about birthdays anymore — I only care about milestones. In that perspective, I still feel young and inexperienced.
Not gonna lie, it's getting hard not comparing myself to friends I see are getting married and having their second/third kids.
I'm doing everything I can to grow up fast.
What did you really want and get?
A new job — My old boss was a micromanager that treated me like a kid in a sweatshop. Basically his attitude was, "YOU NEED TO WORK EXTRA HOURS [WITHOUT PAY] AND DO EVERYTHING MY WAY, OR ELSE YOU ARE NOT A TEAM PLAYER."
My new boss respects me as a peer that has strengths that compliment his. He knows how to utilize my strengths, is patient with my weaknesses, and gives me the opportunities to build on my potential at my own pace.
Float Table by Humanscale — I finally got my expensive-ass ergonomic desk which I've been wanting for YEARS.
What did you really want and NOT get?
I've been dying for Apple to update their 27" Thunderbolt Display so I can get two of 'em. They're expensive totally worth the investment; my current 23" Apple Display is still going strong after 7 years.
What do you wish you'd done more of?
Play more basketball. I fucking miss playing ball so much. I'm just so scared of playing ball without health insurance after my brother's freak knee injury. Plus, my right ankle keeps giving out when I'm just shooting around in the backyard. I'm not even pushing myself and it'll give out"¦it's so discouraging. =/
What do you wish you'd done less of?
Dwelling on past shit.
Did you suffer any serious illness or injury?
Had my gall bladder removed in January.
Also stepped on two rusty nails in my backyard so I rushed to get a tetanus shot, lol.
What was the best thing you bought?
My iPhone 5s. The camera is INCREDIBLE. Android fans knock on Apple for "always doing the same shit" but really, Apple is just focusing on the underrated things that really matter. I want to be able to capture precious moments that I want to remember for the rest of my life.
Where did most of your money go?
My ergonomic desk.
Which celebrity/public figure(s) are you crushing on?
Anna Kendrick <333
Chloe Bennet from Marvel's Agents of SHIELD.
Donna from Suits.
Rebecca from Vampire Diaries.
Brenda Song after her role in New Girl.
What political issue stirred you the most?
Everything that Snowden revealed about our government. No American wants to see another 9-11 happen ever again"¦but man, that's coming at the expense of our civil liberties. I'm still trying to figure out exactly where I side in the Security vs. Right to Privacy debate but ultimately, I think Snowden is an American hero. As Snowden puts it:
I didn't want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.
Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank God.
Did anyone close to you give birth?
Tracie had Madelyn
Raelynne had Carmen Chanel
Phatts had twins
Who did something worthy of celebration?
Meliss got married
Raelynne got married
VJ on The Sing Off
Joyce got married
Loris got married
SF BatKid <333
Without giving names, did anyone do anything really disappointing? What did they do?
I can't stand managers that micromanage and treat people like they're kids in a sweatshop.
I can't stand people that'll oversell their product/services and then hella shave corners to deliver.
Dwight Howard is a bitch for bolting LA.
Who did you miss?
NY fam. DMV fam. NorCal fam. San Diego fam. JAG fam. I hella miss traveling and seeing people.
Who/what kept you sane?
What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?
Had one of my internal organs operated on. SCARY.
Got my car towed.
Got my name on TechCrunch! lol
Bought my first Android.
What date/moment from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
January 31, 2013 — got my gall bladder removed. I've had knee and eye surgery before, but getting my internal organs operated on is so much scarier.
April 1, 2013 — started my new full-time job.
What was your biggest failure?
No failures this year. Just constant improvements to my career. My social life took a bit of a hit but at least I've been super productive.
What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting a new job. I can't emphasize enough how hard it was to find a new job. I applied to at least 50 jobs and only heard back from a handful of them. Getting this new job that I absolutely LOVE is such a big achievement.
Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Nope. In fact, I reconciled with that one person that was on my Hate List since college.
Sidenote: There are a some people that I've cut ties with. I wouldn't be surprised if these people went around saying shit like, "Oh, Mel is just bitter from [blah blah blah]." Nah, homie, I'm just focusing on my life and only putting energy into people that make me want to be a better person.
Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.
Did you fall in love in 2013?
No. I'm focusing on myself right now.
Which new person made the biggest impact on you this year?
My boss — I've never before worked for someone that truly understands me and appreciates what I can do. It's refreshing and revitalizing. I've never had a day I've dreaded going to work.
Aileen — She's the kind of person that I love to be around. She knows what she wants, she knows how to get it, and she works her ass off doing it.
She's not afraid to try new things, yet she always stays true to herself. She's so passionate and driven about her craft, it inspires me because as a web developer, I too see myself as a craftsman.
I can just tell Aileen's not the kind of person that's driven by fame or money. She's driven by her love for music, her passion to learn, and her desire to leave a positive mark on this world.
Tell us a quote or song lyric that sums up your year:
Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.
Let God make a man out of him before you try to make a husband out of him.
I've always felt younger at heart than my age, which can be both a good and bad thing. This past year, I've been focusing on growing up to be a real man. If I want to have my own family someday, I gotta grow up and become a man first.
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013:
There is no such thing as a hater. The reality is when a person stops getting value out of something, they will start to only see the bad things. E.g. if you slowly put in less effort into keeping your SO — even if you still treat them highly compared to others — they will slowly get annoyed by every little thing you do.
I think I'm dyslexic, which would explain so many things about me.
Enjoy the process. For me, I realized I fail at weight-loss or maintaining a workout routine because I have never enjoyed the process. In the past, I've tried running and/or cutting back on junk food"¦but neither of those routines lasted longer than a few months because I never enjoyed the process. Nowadays, I look for healthy food that I will enjoy just as much as unhealthy food. I've found My Fit Foods, which is REALLY GOOD, and I've easily shed off 18 lbs in just one month.
I look at the world differently than others. In my mind, this is the way the world should work: when you put positive energy X and Y into the system, you should always get rewarded with positive result Z. I was raised to always treat people the way I wanted to be treated and to always do the right thing. The reality is, a lot of people just won't reciprocate. Some people will always pick themselves over doing the right thing. Some people will act like they're doing something for the greater good and later you find out they've had a hidden agenda the entire time.
I have ZERO tolerance for repeat offenders. An apology is a promise to not do something again [or at least, that's how I believe the system should work]. All the times that I've RAGED on someone were because I caught them doing something, they apologized, I forgave them"¦and then they went around and did the exact same thing again. I can forgive the first time"¦but I have a history of being RUTHLESS towards those that go back on their word. Basically, "Fool me once, I can forgive you"¦Fool me twice, I will fucking END you." That's just the way I'm built.
Good posture is really important. After watching so much of Suits, I can't help but notice how much respect Harvey demands because of his posture. And after watching so much of The Dog Whisperer, I've learned that dogs will treat you differently based on your posture.
Walking after eating is really good for you. Specifically, a 20-minute walk about 15 minutes after eating helps improve digestion and blood-sugar levels. So now, after eating any big meal, I try to walk around the mall or shoot hoops in the backyard. It sure beats lying/sitting down and feeling bloated.
If you could go back in time to exactly one year ago, what would you tell yourself?
2011 was a year of struggle and finding yourself. 2012 was a year of stepping in the right direction, working hard, and making sacrifices. 2013 is when all your patience pays off. All the sacrifices you made with your social life and all the bullshit you've dealt with at work will all be worth it.
What are you looking forward to in 2014?
More financial stability — Nothing beats getting paid to do what you love.
Home improvements — With some financial stability, I'm finally able to upgrade a bunch of things around the house. My new ergonomic desk is the centerpiece of my home office, which I will continually build around this upcoming year. After that, I'll focus on my bedroom. After that"¦
A dog — I really want a dog. Now. Ever since I crashed at Alan's house with his new puppy, I've been seriously thinking of getting my own. If my boss goes overseas for a month for vacation again this summer, I'ma do it.
If you could talk to your future self one year from now, what would you ask/say?
Do you have a dog yet? Do you feel your age yet? How's work life treating you? Did your boss expand the company or are you still the only full-time employee? What was the best thing you taught yourself as a web developer this year? How's your thing with My Fit Foods going? What was it like not doing the #SantaHat Tradition this year? Did the Lakers tank the season and draft Wiggins? lol